Tuesday, February 19, 2013

This Has Been A Test. . . .

       There certainly has been a 'break-in-the-action' experience of late.  What with storms, adjustments to new 'technical toys', keeping up with the family, friends, gravity - ever at my psychic and physical doors, and like a siren, luring me to anything but  an upright demeanor/posture - and what I've always thought of as the February 'accounting'.  I was taught and recall telling my offspring that when you really want to know 'how you're doing', pose the question on a gloomy day in  February.  The premise is painfully simple (often simply painful): Anyone can convince himself that life is good on a sunny day in June.  It's the 'This-Just-In. . .' on a gray February morn that can bring your curtain down.  (I've been 'hooked' off the stage sans curtain when I was dangerously off course.  Mon Dieu!)
       It was with considerable relief, then, that the 'day - in truth several weeks - of reckoning', although not a kick-up-your-heels (as if I could) day, did pass without negative aftermath.  The ordeal, however, had that very old feeling I'd get during my brief stint as a DJ - way back in the day when we'd just completed one of those un-announced "Tests of the Emergency Broadcasting System".  All manner of hushed/rushed protocols would get hustled into effect; buttons pushed; checklists checked; piercing frequency waves all the while permeating the studio to where one could hardly think.  Then some "All Clear" buzzer would catapult us back into the humdrum of playing the audience faves such that they were soothed/felt safe.  (As this soothing message was broadcast to the general listening public, yours truly would be thinking, "Really, pal?  Trust me. Had this been a true emergency, I'm outta here!"
       So it has been with my February accounting.  Far too much 'pense, pense/wonder, wonder, what if-dya think??s for moi.  I'm exhausted.  Next year I'm taking the 'oral'.  Luckily, on the sidelines - of life. Don't do sports - I'm constantly entertained by the 'doings' of our little ones as they raise theirs. Of course you get to play.
       It's just so typical Americana-ville, I think ylu'll be able to relate with this one.  You've met the main characters before - tney brought you the little slice of 'holiday life' when the Elf arrived the month before Christmas.  This month, like so many young families nationwide, they were dealing with snow.  (Not that they don't care about the deficit, sequestration, joblessness and slaughter in North Africa.  It's just a matter of forum.  I just do life.  I leave 'world peace' and such to Miss America contestants.
       Not surprisingly, this episode focused mainly on Dad but necessarily is/was brought to us by the children.  Their oldest, E, played a key role in the flow - seen above in a grotesquely over-sized, very old photo (when she was admonishing 'Mr. Producer' as a Broadway Baby) that I cannot get my spanking new Surface to downsize and properly place - certainly helped to move things along but 'Hats Off' to her Mom, our daughter, J, in this one.
       Earlier in the week, she kept calling to tell me how much she was dreading the weekend.  Saturday morning was the birthday party for their best friends' and around-the-corner neighbors' twins.  Naturally, family was coming in from out-of-town/staying the night.  J was looking forward to helping D with preparations as D is a perfectionist nightmare about these landmark events.  (R or Daddy to E and  C plus hubby to J was all about helping as well but kept hissingly reminding J at every opportunity about how important the 'black tie' deal that night was to his job and we can't be late and you did get the sitter and you know the limo is picking us up at the bank and the guy said he'd wait but only fifteen minutes, yada, yada YADA!!)
       Did I mention it had snowed the day before (accumulating four or so inches which is incapacitating to this area) and that Jenna, the sitter had recently passed her driver's test? Well, those were the facts, 'Ma'am' and Mister.  Sooo, the birthday party was a huge success; smiles/presents all around; in-laws settling in and twins wound nicely like springs.
       J got her little crew home in plenty of time and delivered "the speech".  "Now kids, the sitter is coming soon so  I want to know that even though you're excited from that great party - (R now standing behind her, tapping foot, pointing to watch) - we are going to be polite, remember our words, do what Jenna asks, say our prayers - "We're good, Mom.", from interrupting E.
       E then proceeded into her room where she repeated J's speech verbatum to ALL of her dolls, perched attentively on her bed; C was in his room trying to put Daddy's tux tie on his favorite bear;  J thankfully got knot the hot shower, lathered up her hair and smiled because it was only 4:30 and they didn't have to leave until 6:30. "YES!"  And the lights went out. "NO!"
       J darted into the hall, towel-clad, crashing into R - ashen in the dark, but managing a glare.  After calling the power company and hearing, "We don't know, Ma'am.  Seems to have been a vehicular accident but we're working on it. . .", J called our son who lives very close by with his wife and 3 children.  "Philip.  Would you mind keeping our kids overnight?  And we'll be there in ten because my hair is still shampooed and R is freaking out."  Then she called the sitter who had already left but her parents were great.  Said they'd reach her and turn her around.
        Then, dashing/dripping into E's room, she interrupted the lecture with, "E, pack an overnight bag.  You guys will be spending the night at Uncle Phil's."  "Oh! Are we ALL going?, gleefully indicating her dolls.  "No. E. Just you and C.  Now move it!"  C was already gathering up a collection of planes and Lightning McQueen cars and shoveling them into a diaper bag when J found him for, "Patrick will let you play with his cars.  I'll get your things together."
       Somehow they still arrived with two bags and were greeted by Robyn's, "You need TWO bags for ONE night?"  J flew past her, freezing/still wet, with R in tow muttering about the limo and only fifteen minutes.  Philip, loving the show, offered to go down and  chat up the driver, buying his sister ten or so extra minutes.  R, not amused, was now pleading for a tux tie as his was missing.  Five VERY happy/snug cousins were selecting a movie and making pop corn.  Robyn was searching her dressing table for makeup.
       Meanwhile, back in the 'hood', D and extended family were wandering around with candles, tripping over wrapping paper and presents.  Jenna was crying, standing on the cruel, cold street waiting for triple A to come and tow her parents' SUV which she had totaled when her novice snow-handling had sent the vehicle careening into a skid that was stopped by a major utility pole. The child was unharmed but terrified and terminally humiliated.
       At 6:15, J and R reached their waiting limo and had just enough time for a champagne toast before departure to a charmed/charming evening of dinner, dancing and properly greeting the guests in their finery.  The lights glittering on the dance floor seemed to be dancing snow flakes.  J thought - "It turned out to be a GREAT weekend.  I worry too much, Old Sport, . . ."
Later, Lorane. . . .           
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